Thursday, February 19, 2015

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

For the past four years I have had an issue with insomnia, primarily during the winter months and if I am going to be honest, it is mostly self-induced...brain overload, hot flashes, quiet "me" name it, I can rationalize why I wake up to use the bathroom & end up staying awake for an hour or two, four out seven nights per week.

I never thought it was a real problem...until this past holiday break when my insomnia had reached an all-time peak...I'd stay up late, at least until 11pm, and then wake up an hour or two later, only to force myself back to sleep around 4am.  While this was okay during a break, it was not going to work once we went back to school and I needed a solution.  So, without over analyzing or searching the internet, I came up with my own solution.  

Nighttime Routine's Aren't Just for Kids

It was apparent that I needed a positive, mind clearing, body relaxing routine, so I created these four steps that I attempt to follow, Sunday thru Thursday.

1.  Take a hot, relaxing shower approximately 45 minutes before my proposed bed time - sometimes sooner, depending upon the day I have had (example: craptastic day = 6pm, good day = 8:30pm).  I use this absolutely delicious shower gel made by Bath & Body Works Sleepy Time Tea, followed up by the matching lotion when I get out and towel off.   I smell yummy & feel like I have washed away the day - good or bad, it's like a fresh start for a great night's sleep. 

2.*  Brew a yummy mug of **Celestial Seasonings brand of "Sleepy Time Tea" and drink about 30 minutes before I actually want to fall asleep - I usually drink it while I am reading a book.

3. All electronics are turned off approximately 30 minutes prior to be going to the bedroom.  My cell phone now charges in the kitchen because I do not have enough self-control to NOT check FB when I wake up in the middle of the night.  Plus I read somewhere that it is bad feng shui to have electronic devices in your bedroom - thus the reason we no longer have a TV in our bedroom.

4. Read a good book for a 15-30 minutes.  This and saying my prayers before bed has always been a part of my nightly routine - the difference is that now I am physically relaxed & ready to let my mind relax too, making the process all the more enjoyable.

Results: Holy Wah, It Works!

The crazy thing is that the results were almost instantaneous - the first night I did all three steps I slept through the night, not even waking up to use the bathroom (that is dependent upon how much water I've drank during the day).  When I follow this routine I get a good 7-8 hours of sleep and I awake well-rested.  

*Note:  If I skip a step it is the tea - but not for more than one day because the next night I end up have restless leg issues and can't relax.  

**Celestial Seasoning's "Sleepy Time Tea" can be found in just about any grocery store or drug store - I bought  mine at a local Walgreens, less than $4 a box.

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